Applying for the E-Rate
- Plan Around the Application Window. Based upon previous experience, the application window will probably last from mid-November through mid-January. Applications for the program received during this period will receive first priority in the disbursement of E-rate funds.
- Calculate Your Discount Level. The amount of discount for a particular school depends on the financial need of its students. Therefore, for this program, it is very important that a Catholic school have data on the number of its students who would qualify for the national school lunch program (even if the school does not have the lunch program itself). There are a number of different ways of collecting this data, and a number of other federal programs (most prominently Title I) also require it. Even if a school has few children eligible for the national school lunch program, it can receive discounts of 20 to 50 percent. If a school has over half of its students eligible for the national school lunch program, it can receive discounts of 80 to 90 percent. Find out how your school collects data on income levels for these programs!
- Create a Technology Plan and Have it Approved. A technology plan develops a comprehensive future outlook for the funding and integration of educational technology in the classroom. Approval of a technology plan can be performed by a number of entities. This should be done as early as possible, but it can be done during the filing of E-rate applications.
- File a Form 470 on the SLD Website. Form 470 lists the services that a school would like to purchase. This form is then posted on the SLD website so that telecommunications service providers can bid for the school's business. Form 470 must posted on the SLD website for 28 days to allow for the mandatory response period, before contracts may be signed and Form 471 filed.
- Contract with a Service Provider for the Services in Form 470. You will find bids on your Form 470 and contact information on the SLD website.
- File a Form 471 on the SLD Website. Form 471 certifies that a contract has been signed between a school and a service provider. It also includes a section where you will enter your school lunch data and discount level. With the submission of Form 471, your application is complete.
Committing to the E-Rate
- File a Form 486 on the SLD Website. Form 486 is the receipt of service confirmation form. It informs SLD when you receive, are scheduled to receive or have received designated services.
- Certify on Form 486 compliance with the requirements of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Schools and libraries are enforcing a policy of internet safety that includes measures to block and filter internet access to both minors and adults to visual depictions that are (1) obscene, (2) child pornographic, or (3) are harmful to minors. Failure to comply with the requirements could cause you to lose your funds. A summary of the key aspects of the applicable rules for CIPA is available on the Division of Catholic Schools and Public Policy web page under "Recently Enacted Legislation."
- File a Form 472 (BEAR form) if you need reimbursement for bills paid before you received your funding letter. You must provide a complete copy of Form 472 to the specific Service Provider. The Service Provider must sign the Form 472 before you submit it to the SLD. After the relevant Service Provider has signed the form, you are responsible for submitting the Form 472 to the SLD.
For More Information Detailed information and application forms are available on the SLD website at www.sl.universalservice.org or from the SLD information line at 1-888-203-8100. Good tips on gathering the data needed to calculate your discount and on formulating your technology plan can be found on the National Catholic Educational Association's website at www.ncea.org.